Whether you are having a baby or know someone who is, there’s not doubt that when that new bundle arrives everyone is going to want to meet it, cuddle it and shower it in love.
It’s important to remember that, this new little bundle is so precious and vulnerable in those early days, and while everyone goes with the best intentions, there are some non-negotiables that should come when visiting a newborn – for both the mother and baby’s sake.
So if you are the mum – don’t be afraid to send this list on – or put your foot down if someone arrives with a cough, shows up unannounced or doesn’t get a hint on when to leave – you are the mumma bear now and it’s your job to protect your little cub.
1. Timing is everything
Wait until you are invited and then make sure you agree on a time with the new parents so they are expecting you. And if they’re not ready for visitors yet don’t be offended, its not about you.
2. NEVER show up unannounced
You might think this is cute, we assure you, new parents do not
3. Wait to be offered a cuddle
We know you’re dying to hold the baby but mum might have just spent hours finally getting her to sleep and she doesn’t want to risk waking her up – or she’s emotional and still bonding herself and isn’t ready to hand her over. There will be plenty of time for cuddles.
4. If you are even slightly sick – stay away
If you are sick, getting sick or have recently been sick, wait until you are feeling 100% better. Newborn babies are so vulnerable to infection and even the slightest sickness to us can be hugely serious to them.
5. Leave your kids at home
If you can help it, try and leave young children at home, they are often carrying illnesses and germs too – if you can’t, make sure the new parents are ok with you bringing them along.
6. Always wash your hands/use hand sanitiser
Before holding the baby always wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser to make sure you don’t transfer any unwanted germs.
7. Ask the mum how she is going but let her tell you as much as she wants
Don’t press a new mum for information on the birth/labour if she’s not ready, she will tell you if she is. If it was traumatic or she isn’t feeling great she might not be ready to talk about it yet.
8. Know when to go
Don’t overstay your welcome by sticking around too long. New parents and babies need as much rest and sleep as they can get – and they’ve likely got a lineup of other visitors to get through after you.
9. Offer a helping hand
See if there is anything you can do to help out, especially if you are visiting the family once they have gone home. Something as simple as stacking the dishwasher, grabbing some groceries or walking the dog but do this without implying that the house is messy. Simply ask if there’s anything that they could use a hand with – or even offer to watch the baby so mum can have a shower or a nap. Tip: Don’t let the new parents wait on you – if they offer you a drink, get it yourself and don’t expect to be fed – in fact, you should be bringing food to them!
10. Don’t offer advice
Unless the mum specifically asks for it. Don’t tell her she’s doing something the wrong way or try to tell her how you did it – if she wants help she will ask for it.
11. DO tell her how amazing she is
She probably won’t believe you, and she definitely won’t be feeling it, but tell her how amazing she is anyway. Tell her you’re proud of her, that she is a great mum – and bonus points if you bring her chocolate/soft cheese/sushi/champagne because as much as it’s about meeting the baby, she has just been through nine long months of pregnancy and hours – if not days – of labour and she needs some love too.